Fruity Pebble Cupcakes

Some ideas are better in conception than execution. Such was the case for my first attempt at turning fruity sugary cereal into cupcakes last year, with my "All Part Of A Complete Breakfast" Cupcakes, made out of fruit loops. They tasted fine, actually, but I have to admit that mixing fruit loop crumbs into frosting produced a somewhat unappetizing brownish/greenish result.

So I learned my lesson, but I hadn't given up on the idea of fruity breakfast cereal cupcakes. The inspiration just went dormant for a while. But recently it flared up again and I felt ready to experiment again - this time using fruity pebbles, which as far as I can tell are just fruit loop shavings and differ in literally no other way. Am I wrong? Cereal connoisseurs, speak now!

I feel confident in saying that it was significantly more successful this time around. Just look at these vibrant, colorful beauties! 

The key to this recipe is fruity pebble crunch, based on Milk Bar's addictively sweet/salty cornflake crunch.

So! Colorful! So! Snackable! Ahhhh!

Warning: Don't keep this stuff open and accessible on the counter if you don't want it to disappear in 1.5 days. You will be irresistibly drawn to its vibrant color and won't be able to stop yourself from snacking on it by the handful. Of course, maybe that sounds agreeable to you, in which case by all means go right ahead. You have our whole-hearted approval.

This cupcake starts with a dense, moist, and dare I say, perfect vanilla pound cake base. 

We hide some fruity pebble ganache inside, then smear it with fluffy vanilla frosting flavored with a hint of fruity pebble aftertaste - kind of like the milk you drink out of the bottom of the bowl when your cereal is gone.

Then we top it in as much fruity pebble crunch as we can get to stick to the frosting because let me reiterate - this fruity pebble crunch is the bomb.

Because you're probably wondering by now: Yes, these cupcakes are as fun and yummy to eat as they look; no, we're not sharing - go make your own.

What's your favorite breakfast cereal? Could you make a cupcake out of it? (Our dad's favorite is Grape Nuts...and I'm going to say no, probably not a great cupcake inspiration.)

- Molly

Fruity Pebble Cupcakes

Cupcakes

8 ounces butter, at room temperature

8 ounce cream cheese, at room temperature

1 3/4 cups sugar

4 eggs, at room temperature

1 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine the room temperature butter, cream cheese, and sugar in the large bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla and mix it in. The batter might appear a little broken at this point—that’s okay.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredient and mix just until they’re combined. Finish stirring everything together with a spatula, scraping down the bottom and sides of the bowl. Spoon batter into cupcake liners. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Vanilla Frosting

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 to 4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1⁄8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons heavy cream

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until soft, about 1 minute. Add 2 cups of the confectioners’ sugar, the salt, and vanilla. Beat on low speed until the sugar is well incorporated. Add another 2 cups sugar and the cream. Add remaining 2 cups of sugar as needed to thicken the frosting. Beat on medium speed until the frosting is smooth and fluffy, about 4 minutes.

Fruity Pebble Crunch

Yields about four cups

5 c. Fruity Pebble cereal 

½ c. milk powder 

3 tbsp. sugar

1 tsp. kosher salt

9 tbsp. butter, melted

Heat oven to 275°.

In a medium bowl, with your hands, crush Fruity Pebbles to ¼ of their original size. Add milk powder, sugar, and salt; toss to mix. Add butter; toss to coat. (As you toss, the butter will act as glue, binding the dry ingredients to the cereal, creating small clusters.)

On a parchment- or Silpat-lined sheet pan, spread clusters and bake for 20 minutes, at which point they should look toasted, smell buttery, and crunch gently when cooled slightly and chewed.

Cool completely before storing or using in a recipe. Stored in an airtight container at room temperature, the crunch will keep fresh for one week; in the fridge or freezer, it will keep with one month.

Cupcakes from Sugar Hero; Fruity Pebble Crunch adapted from Momofuku Milk Bar; Frosting from Homemade Decadence